2009-07-25 12:13:00  2009-07-25 12:13:00


Whoops - rucksack stuck in the door of a Yamanote Line train

Seen the other day at Gotanda Station

2009-07-20 15:30:00  2009-07-20 15:30:00


Farmhouse in Tokyo, Japan

Recently it was brought to my attention by my trousers that I am engaged in a largely sedentary occupation, and in order to avoid budget overruns in the waistline-orientated clothing department I am currently undertaking a programme of arduous cycle trips through random parts of Tokyo. Today I ventured out into the previously unknown wilderness between Kannana and Kanpachi (ring roads numbers 7 and 8 respectively) and was mildly surprised to find odd patches of actual wilderness as well as actual fields, and even the old farmhouse-like building pictured above, which looks like it has been there long before the area around it was encroached upon by more banal structures of concrete and prefabricated tile facades.

2009-07-05 15:49:00  2009-07-05 15:49:00

Blogroll re-wound

Clicking randomly in a rare moment of boredom today I happened to notice that the blogroll was going a bit stale. The Osaka Life blog appears to have vanished into the ether, which is a pity as it was one of the few blogs by a Japanese person in English (and pretty good it was too). But to keep Japan's third largest city in the picture here's Once Upon a Time in Osaka, of particular interest to anyone learning Japanese.

Meanwhile Tokyo Cowgirl has also vanished, albeit probably temporarily (and probably involving the destruction of another innocent computer). However she now seems to be permanently in New York with no particular connection to Japan other than her ex-boyfriend still resident in Tokyo (if he is still ex, I can't keep up). If and when the blog comes back it's still excellent reading and an interesting perspective on the upper echelons of New York society, but I will have to nudge it into the "Other blogs" list.

To fill in the vacated space I've finally got round to adding Chris' English School, the blog of one of the most prolific post commenters in the English-speaking J-blogosphere, and a new one to me, Michael Flux's random ramblings and photos of Japan (found via A Misspent Life; though I can't tell whether he's actually in Japan at the moment).

Posted in Odd Stuff | add a comment

2009-07-04 17:35:00  2009-07-04 17:35:00

Life on the Edge

"The Penguin" and "Roppongi" are not necessarily words you hear often in the same sentence, but as the unofficial backup concert photographer for these guys (i.e. the only person usually sober enough to hold and operate a camera) needs must be and last night I found myself at Club Edge, a live house location at the less disreputable end of Roppongi's main strip towards Azabu Juban.

Sunset Drive performing at Club Edge, Roppongi

Nice venue, though as it is on the second basement floor accessible (as far as I could see) through quite a narrow entrance way, the words "fire trap" spring to mind. More seriously, the bar ran out of beer at around 10pm, but not tequila, and as it has been more than a decade since The Penguin last had any involvement with this particular liquid, and The Penguin had evidently forgotten the hard-learned lesson of that era, i.e. the advisability of avoiding that devilish concoction at all costs.

The Penguin will not be going into details but would like to emphasise that the forehead injury was sustained as the result of a vicious and unprovoked attack by one of the walls in his apartment.

2009-06-02 04:51:00  2009-06-02 04:51:00

Yanking the supply chain

Apologies for the posting drought: The Penguin has been suffering frequent bouts of fun interrupted by sudden attacks of work. Or maybe it was the other way round. There was also a three-day weekend spent in horizontal mucus generation mode pretending not to be Mexican. The Penguin's memory is a bit hazy. Updates to follow.

Meanwhile, as The Penguin's loyal readership is clamouring for some sort of update, presumably any sort of update, here a verbatim extract (with names changed for Business Secrecy Reasons) from a recent work-related mail:

F will be acting as the go between for S. F do A also but the fulfilment and invoicing is done thru H. S will be invoiced by F, but fulfilled by H. So it will be H who will uploading S's orders.

Got that? (A, F and S are companies you have probably heard of). Took The Penguin a few minutes to visualise it himself,. Unfortunately this is not untypical for this line business (widget processing if you must know). The Penguin is trying to draw up a diagram of the whole convoluted supply chain but has run out of wall space.

Posted in Odd Stuff | add a comment

2009-05-04 05:09:00  2009-05-04 05:09:00

Down by the river...

Barbecue at the Tamagawa (Tama River)

...a great place to...

Barbecue at the Tamagawa (Tama River)

...hold a barbecue...

2009-04-19 08:28:00  2009-04-19 08:28:00

Scam alert!

As someone whose job tangentially involves the area of data and computer security, I am very sensitive to dubious tricks of all kinds, especially involving personal information and money. We do live in an age where criminals are not afraid to contact victims and direct them via mobile telephone to transfer large sums of money into the criminal's account; or where suspicious individuals from sanitation-challenged countries promise you by email access to even larger sums of money in exchange for an up-front fee.

Supplementary Income Payment - 定額給付金 Thus, the other day I was sceptical to say the least to find an envelope addressed to myself personally saying I was entitled to claim a free 12,000 yen[1]. All I had to do is provide copies of both sides of my alien registration card and my bank details, send them off in the envelope provided and the cash would be mine, no strings attached.

Oh yeah? Think I'm going to fall for that one? The fact that it was a professionally designed communication purporting to be from my local ward office[2] only served to make me doubly suspicious.

I investigated the matter further and it appears that behind this scheme is a shady group with links to organized crime known known as the "LDP". Apparently - and this is a bizarre twist on the usual "advance fee fraud" style of scam - the money will actually be paid out. However - as they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch - the LDP will be wanting this money back at some undetermined point in time in the future of their choosing. No firm details have been established yet, but it looks like they'll be expecting recipients not only to repay the money as a sort of "tax", but no doubt also "interest" payments to cover their initial outlay, which will probably be enforced by "officials" within the so-called "bureaucracy" who are in league with the "LDP".

After much thought I have decided to see if I can't get the better of this deal. I will invest some of the money in a club. A club with a nail in it. After all, it certainly keeps the NHK man away. And if that doesn't work out, the remainder should cover the ferry fare to North Korea.

[1] In real money, at current exchange rates, around 93 Euro.
[2] A "ward" (区, ku) is an administrative district of Tokyo, though they like to call themselves "cities".


Posted in Satire | add a comment

2009-04-16 17:40:00  2009-04-16 17:40:00

Final hesitation

So long, Sir Clement, and thanks for all the laughs.


Posted in Odd Stuff | add a comment

Welcome to my Japan Blog

This is my Japan Blog. There are thousands of others like it, but this one is mine. Oh yes.

As to my mysterious identity: a citizen of Her Britannic Majesty Liz II, currently resident in the Far East (of Germany) in Tokyo, I maintain a certain vested interest in Japan and its multifaceted culture. Note: part of this blog's audience consists of "the folks back home" and therefore from time to time might contain descriptions and images similar to those seen on thousands of other Japan blogs.

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